Rolling With The (Holiday) Punches


Wah gwaan* people! This is one of my favorite times of the year what is there not to like? Family, friends, fun, and food!  One word that brings instant joy to my face is Sorrel. I am going to explain and share my recipe with you before you ask “Sorrel, what is that?” First of all it is greatness and lastly it is awesome.

Sorrel (SOR-uhl) is a refreshing drink popular in the Caribbean, some parts of West Africa (Zobo) and Latino cultures (Agua de Jamaica). Sorrel consists of dried hibiscus leaves brewed, chilled, sweetened, and many all cases spiked with rum. Traditionally made during the Christmas season and its deep red color is perfect for your next bashment*!

What you need.

1 cup dried sorrel leaves (can get from local Caribbean, African or Asian vegetable market)

2 quarts of water

5 to 6 (1-inch) slices ginger

1 cup White sugar I know you may be tempted to use brown sugar but… Do. Not. Do. It.  If it is a concern use cane sugar.

1 tablespoon  cloves

1 tablespoon  pimento/allspice balls

1 tablespoon  cinnamon or 2 sticks

1 tablespoon  orange peel

1 teaspoon  lemon peel

Optional but necessary

1 cup of manischewitz wine

1 (or several) splashes of Wray and Nephew Overproof Jamaican White rum *WARNING* please know your alcohol limits and gauge accordingly. Plus no one likes the drunk uncle.

What to do

Grate ginger.

Add the sorrel leaves, ginger and water to a stockpot and bring to a boil.

Once water is boiling add the spices and peels.

Boil for 15-20 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to seep for 24 hours in the refrigerator.

Strain, add sugar and wine/alcohol, to taste.

Chill and serve with ice and a garnish of your choice I chose mint.

Source: My grandmother’s recipe and my experimentation.



Here is a bonus!

The joys of growing up in diverse neighborhoods I’ve been exposed to best dishes other cultures have to offer. That brings me to Coquito, essentially it is a “Coconut Egg Nog” popular in Latino-Carribean communities but it is soooo much more. Checked out some recipes online and this one seems to be the closest to what I remember growing up.

Makes about 8 cups

2 jumbo eggs or equivalent of pasteurized egg substitute

3 jumbo egg yolks or equivalent of pasteurized egg substitute

14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

15-ounce can cream of coconut

12-ounce can evaporated milk

1 cup heavy cream

3/4 to 1 cup light rum

Ground cinnamon, to garnish

In a blender, combine the eggs and egg yolks. Blend on high until the eggs are pale yellow and very light. With the motor running, one at a time slowly add the condensed milk, cream of coconut and evaporated milk. Blend for a minute or so, then with the motor still running, slowly add the heavy cream. Blend until just incorporated. Stir in the rum.

If while preparing the coquito your blender becomes too full, simply transfer some of the mixture to a serving pitcher, then continue as directed. Add the remaining coquito to the pitcher and stir well. Chill for 2 to overnight. Serve sprinkled with cinnamon. I added a little bit of shredded coconut on top, faux fancy. Source: Deseret News 



* = What is going on? How are you doing? A common greeting phrase in patois, a language native to the Carribean.

** = Big party.

***= ”All right! Good job! Congratulations! Right on! Yeah! etc.” in many Latino communities.

Eat, Drink and be Merry!